Saturday, February 28, 2009

Caesar WWI Germans & Bresica Miniatures

The fantastic WWI German Assault Troops are shown here in the Bresica Miniatures trench.

The soldiers fit perfectly in the trench. I like that they can fire over the top of the trench line. I like that they can also stand behind the mound of the trench and fire forward too. The trench is nice and wide so the figures can move around without their stands being too large.

The rear of the trench has a nice sandbag part. I think it fits the dip in the back of the trench so that the sandbags could be removed and made into an opening so they can bring in supplies without having to climb over the trench top.

This trench model provides good cover to the troops. This trench will work well from about the American Civil War until Tuesday of next week. It is a good trench, and being resin is nice and heavy. I don't like vacuform terrain because one tiny bump and all the figures fall over. The Caesar WWI Germans are a great set and I highly recommend them.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Mission Sucess and Epilogue

The Miniature Submarine returns to the surface with the bomb sight. It is readied to return to the converted landing craft, Mother Ship. The depths of the lake still show the B17 at the bottom.

The Mother Ship, Mini Submarine, and Support Raft return to base, mission successful! Technology is one of the great advantages the West has over the Eastern Block. Keeping it safe from spys, and traitors is a full time job for tens of thousands of American servicemen. You can see the sailors on the dockside are heavily armed.

Any threat is opposed by this group of rough and ready sailors. Bazooka, rifle, even ray gun are all employed to defeat any possible Red Menace. The Mother Ship sails off into the sunset to new adventures.

Meanwhile, the B17, nearly intact, sits forlornly at the bottom of a deep alpine lake. The cold water, with little oxygen will keep the massive bomber in near perfect condition for decades.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bone Shaker

Since forever those of us who collect Roco Minitanks, Trident, and Paul Heiser Models have hoped that Hot Wheels would do their vehicles in HO 1/87th scale. We got our wish.

This is a new car from Hot Wheels in HO 1/87th scale. It is obviously a hot rod from the 1950s to now. It is a typical Hot Wheels car, except that is is HO scale.

The cardboard package contains a plastic display box. The box is very sturdy and lifts off from the plastic base.

The car is mounted on the black plastic base and it comes right off without tools. There is a nice Hot Wheels logo and the nickname of the car, Bone Shaker.

This car would look great on any model layout in the US from about 1950 to now. It would also work well anyplace where American soldiers were allowed to have personal cars since that time. It is about three times the cost of a regular Hot Wheels, probably due to the expense of the packaging. They do at least one other car in this series and I hope they do about 2,000 more!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Miniature Sub, Spy Photo

Soviet spy photo of the operation to recover the B17. While the focus is not good, Soviet analysts were able to determine the nature of the operation. The rear of the minisubmarine was captured on film by Soviet spys for the first time with this shot. Only years later did this photo come to light when the Soviet Union fell and the KGB archives were opened to the public.

A good view of the support raft. These rafts also come in an oval shape, but they only held two people. The three man raft is much better for this type of work.

The minisubmarine at depth preparing to return to the surface, mission successful, but not yet completed.

The diver and minisubmarine are returned to the surface and prepares to return to the Mother Ship. These recasts of the Ideal submarine and support ship are lots of fun, with crew, divers and minisubmarine. The sub can be propelled by a rubber band motor.
As a kid I loved having boats to play with in the water, in the bathtub, the back yard, in the gutter. My brother and Iused to flood the backyard and use the lawn as a big swamp in the hot Southern California summers. The MPC sportsfishing boat and PT boat spent many days on patrol and catching fish in that backyard ocean.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

German PAK 40 by HaT

You can see the little troops huddled up against the bottom of the box waiting for a Roco T-34/76 to come around the corner no doubt. HaT makes a series of four WWII German artillery pieces. I have three of them so far and will discuss this one now.

The other recent PAK 75 kit is this yellow one from Italeri. The Italeri one is rather chunky in comparison, but it's detail is more fine and more subtle. The Italeri one has a wheel hub that is closed unlike the HaT one that has an open wheel hub. The Italeri one looks better close up, but the HaT one looks better from a distance.

Seen from the side, you can see the HaT gun is a bit lower in silhouette.

Here is the HaT WWII German Pak36(r) ATG alongside the PAK 40. Both of these are pretty big guns.

The HaT PAK 40 comes in a set of four, with four crewmen per gun. Here seen with a couple extra HaT military police for a pointing guy and a man with binoculars. These are IMEX trees. The muzzle break on the HaT gun is not fully open, but it would not be too hard to clear out. The Italeri one has an open muzzle break. The main differences are this: Italeri has a six man crew per gun and two guns in a set that costs about $10. The Hat Set has four guns with crews for about $8.50. This is a very common gun for WWII Germans, and both sets are good. The HaT set is perfectly fine for wargaming, the Italeri set has a slightly better gun, but costs over twice as much. If I wanted a really nice gun, I would not get the Italeri gun, I would buy a real styrene kit of a PAK 40, they are pretty common.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Minisubmarine Arrives at B17

The Mother Ship arrives at the scene of the B17 crash.

A sailor armed with a submachine gun guards the Mother Ship. Security is tight.

The downed B17 sits quietly in the deep, clear, cold waters of the lake. It's secret bombsight waiting undisturbed - for now.

The support team prepares for the launch of the minisubmarine. They are heavily armed, a successful mission will mean the bombsight is on the surface and vunerable to interception.

The minisubmarine on the surface and prepares to visit the B17. It is slowing filling it's ballast tanks with water to sink to the bottom. The diver will leave the minisubmarine, enter the B17, remove the bombsight, return to the minisubmarine, and back up to the Mother Ship.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Christmas Village III

The dark patches were snow when I first got this monument. I looks like something in the middle of a big park or memorial or even graveyard. It is generic enough to work for about the last 500 years, and could even work from about HO to 1/32nd scale.

The center of the monument has an angel type figure and it looks great. The model was painted just like this apart from the dirt patches.

A priest prepares to bless the troops before they go off to war.

A small covered bridge from the Dollar Tree store.

A little too narrow for a tank, but good for infantry and even horse drawn vehicles. This is a good example of they type of items that can be found for very little money if you keep your eyes open. I feel like I always look at everything to see if I can use it with the hobby stuff.

These buildings are most frequently found at dollar stores around Halloween, Christmas and Easter, which is coming up. That nasty old paint job can be painted over or stripped off and then be repainted. Some of these are actually resin buildings which is great, much more durable than ceramic.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Mini-Submarine Loading Procedures

The sailors, MPC ring hand figures, prepare to load the minisub onto the converted minisubmarine tender.

The minisubmarine tender gets into position to receive the minisubmarine. Note the sailor with the green helmet with a BAR.

The safety team makes one last check of the systems and moves the minisubmarine to the Mother Ship.

The minisubmarine has been loaded and the Mother Ship is prepared to move off to the site of the B17.

The raft support team crew prepares to cast off, they will be towed behind the Mother Ship. The sun goes down as the team prepares for the short trip to the underwater B17. The sailor in the white hat is armed with a carbine, and the man behind him has an M1 rifle.

Friday, February 20, 2009

HaT PAK 40 75mm ATG

HaT PAK 40 75mm gun lurking inside an anti-tank gun position made by Bresica Miniatures.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Italeri WWII U.S. Army III

The mortar team has two mortarmen, but the weapon suffers from the same problems as the machine gun. The bipod of the mortar should be mounted on part of the same base as the figure. The number two mortarman is a rather odd pose, but when viewed from this side, his pose makes some sense. He is watching the fall of the mortar round. It would have been nice to have a few extra mortar rounds at his side.

A size comparison between the Italeri tanker and the HaT German MP. The Italeri guy is just a little bit larger. Look at the great level of detail on even the boots of the Tanker. I don't feel a need for an entire fleet of tankers with Colt .45 pistols, so I suspect I may use him as a source for some head swaps with other troops. Tankers often dismounted for scouting or if their tank was hit.

Imex WWII US Army paratrooper from the Easy Company set, Italeri WWII US Army and a Revell WWII US Army soldier. I like the size of the Revell figure the best and the color and sculpting of the Italeri figure best.

Esci WWII US Army paratrooper, two Italeri US Army figures and a Revell US Army figure.

The Italeri US Army set is a bit taller and thicker than the Esci, Revell and Imex figures. They are not so large that they can't blend in okay in a group. This includes figures from all three of those companies.
Later this year, Italeri are planning on a second US Army set and an anti-tank set too with US Army and other troops. I hope these two additional sets will fill out some of the missing items in this set. I still plan on getting about a battalions worth of these guys, thats about 16 boxes.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

B17 & Mini-Submarine Adventure in 60mm

It never rains in Southern California, except these last two weeks. The garden next to my house floods whenever it rains. My garden has a die cast model B-17 laying in it for years, since my little daughter no longer plays with those kinds of toys.

The Second World War is over, but with Stalin ruling Eastern Europe with an iron fist and threatening his former allies, the defense establishment still needed to be vigilant. While the B-17 Flying Fortress was obsolete the day Japan surrendered, they were still used for many special purposed, even into the 1950s. This one was observing an atomic testing event but due to engine trouble, crashed in this lake. While the small crew was able to bail out and get rescued, there still remained the TOP SECRET Norden Bomb Sight still needed to be recovered.

A converted landing craft will be used to carry a mini-submarine to the crash site where the diver can get the sight out and bring it back safely to the surface. Here the recast 60mm US Navy craft docks just prior to loading the mini-submarine. The area is heavily guarded by MPC US Navy ring hand personnel. The Shore Patrol man in the foreground not only sports an M1 carbine but carries a bully club as well. Even the lab technicians in the background are armed. With the threat of Commie Spy's under every bed, they can't afford to be too careful.

The Mother Ship prepares to cast off to get into position to pick up the mini-submarine. The mini-submarine can be seen in the background, with the diver already in position. Complex high technology like this submarine requires constant attention to insure correct operating. While the lake water is clear, fresh water is less buoyant than salt water, making this a dangerous mission.

Three safety divers will be on station with the mini-submarine diver in case of emergency. The boat commander can be seen near the cannon.

Sailors in the background stand by ready to defend this makeshift Naval base. Heavily armed with even a bazooka and a ray gun rifle. This ray gun technology was only recently declassified and only now being shown to the public. There is a small raft that will provide additional support services to the Mother Ship. More on this exciting adventure will follow soon.